Omar Mansour

I was born in Saudi Arabia to a Communist, Palestinian family from Gaza. When I was small, my family lived in Lebanon, where both my parents were pursuing their masters degrees. At the same time they were fighting in the PLO against Israel. We moved back to Saudi Arabia when my parents decided to end their political life and shift to the banking sector instead. When I was 13, they sent me to a Christian school in the Gaza Strip, where we spent a lot of time studying marxism, capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism. While living in Gaza, I worked with several different international organizations, and had the chance to work with a lot of foreigners.

When I was 17, I was accepted into Oxford University, but I couldn’t pusue my studies there because of the Israeli blockade – there was no way into or out of Gaza since 2006. We were trapped. I spent more than 13 years of my life living in the big, open-air prison we call Gaza. We had 4 hours of electricity per day (usually at random times or in the middle of the night), little food, and even less water. The hospitals were empty of equipment and medicines, and the schools were short of books, pens and other necessities. There was little hope of employment, and hope was in short supply. The living conditions were inhospitable and inhumane.

I wanted to continue my studies, and was able to study Computer science while still living in Gaza. During my studies, I worked to improve the local farmer’s living conditions, helping them export their products to the EU in order to earn a living. I lived through three wars: three attacks on the Gaza strip. The shelling was unbearable, and I lost many friends and family members – more than I can count. In 2014, my University was destroyed by the Israeli war jets. In response, Canada offered me an education, and I was able to leave and start a new chapter of my life abroad. I finished my  Masters degree in Global Business and since then I have studied, lived, traveled, and worked in over 13 countries around the world. I have worked with people from many diverse backgrounds and have been constantly amazed by the beauty of different cultures.

Today I live in British Columbia, and work as a Global Business consultant. My goal is to take a leading position in Canadian international policies, and hope to help Palestine and Israel move towards reconciliation with justice and human rights for all.  I despise racism and all forms of apartheid, and I believe deeply in the beauty of diversity. I am running for Peace because I know that it is the only way forward.

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